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Anonyfinn "flyingfinn1"

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Samsung 2.5-Inch 250 GB 850 EVO Solid State Drive
Samsung 2.5-Inch 250 GB 850 EVO Solid State Drive
Offered by Entrepôt électronique!
Price: £72.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great performance! -- though first boot-up not always easy, 2 July 2015
This is the second Samsing SSD I've installed, the first being the Pro 850 version for my desktop. This Evo 850 went into an older laptop which is SATA 2, not SATA 3, yet it still makes an amazing difference. By the time you accelerate things by e.g. enabling fast mode, there is little to differentiate in real-world speed. The windows experience index gives 7.8 out of 7.9 for data transfer. So -- great and better than expected on a SATA 2 machine.

The laptop I fitted this drive to was high-end in its day (1st gen i7, nice screen you don't get below many hundreds of pounds, nice all round including keyboard, blue ray, etc -- it would take a minimum thousand to do again), so it was well worth doing financially. It's much faster than it ever was, so better than new.

Problems? Same old. The cloning software works -- there's a copy there, but just try starting it. It was a nightmare with the Pro version I installed in another machine before (never did find the problem, so did a complete factory re-set), and with this one the machine couldn't find the boot manager. The FAQs online say use the system recovery dics. Nothing! Fortunately the 'ASSIST' button on my laptop fixed it in a flash. I do wish more guidance could be given to fix pretty routine problems, or better software (they could offer their own diagnostic and repair tool). That's the one thing holding these SSDs back, because there's no guarantee that it's an out of the box solution for your average consumer.

So, an amazing performance upgrade quite cheaply, and a good clone done. But as always, there may be problems getting the drive started, and the reasons can vary so there may not be the exact answer you need when googling. If problems arise, you'll probably get there in the end. Don't forget to buy a USB to SATA cable -- I had a kit already (inc. power and older ATA etc. cables), very handy for this kind of work and for reading drives removed from old computers.

Especially if your drive is dead and needs replacing, it's a no-brainer to get an SSD, at least in the very affordable 256 GB range and provided your existing machine isn't too old to make a revival worth doing. As an upgrade, this is also an excellent way to boost your machine's performance and/or extend its life. The Evo 850 is a good, reputable choice at a very reasonable price for the performance.


Scuba Diving Snorkeling Dive Mask and Sahara Total Dry Snorkel Set, YL
Scuba Diving Snorkeling Dive Mask and Sahara Total Dry Snorkel Set, YL
Offered by Prime Scuba
Price: £27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for smaller heads, not most adults in my opinion, 22 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, the 'sahara' snorkel is the best I know, which is what attracted me to this set -- some are selling it separately for 20 notes, so it's a good deal here. It has different branding on the side, but the mechanism works as I have experienced in the past (even though it isn't as refined and well built as e.g. the Beaver version of sahara). So, in my experience it's about the best dryness I've ever had in a snorkel. What it lacks compared to some is the quick release clip from the mask, but it isn't at all essential. What it gained was a surprisingly effective emergency whistle opposite to the mouth piece.

The mask also doesn't have the refinement of quick adjusters and releases on the strap as found on some higher models, but again these aren't essential. The lenses are smaller than many, but don't really restrict viewing. In fact the mask overall is a tad small, but I was buying this for an early and small teen girl so it's good -- I read other reviews which claimed the mask is a little small and I agree. I have tried it (adult male) and it does work for me, but the distance between the nose cavity and nose bridge is short, meaning the hard bridge sits too tightly on my nose for comfort -- I wouldn't really wear it myself. The silicone itself is very soft, for comfort and a good seal. The mask isn't really low profile either (how far the lens sticks out from the face), but that doesn't matter so long as you aren't scuba diving (where the smaller the air gap in low profile models, the less you need to compensate due to depth).

For the money, this set focuses on the essentials of a snorkel that's dry (surprising and unwelcome water choking being children's no.1 complaint, much worse than mask trickle) and a reasonably soft and comfortable mask. It performs these essentials very well, and you could spend much more and still see no improvements in these areas.

Again, the one proviso is that I do not consider the mask large enough for any but petite adults and children. I consider this to be a great snorkel with a comfortable children's mask thrown in, and if you want your children to enjoy the experience, it's the snorkel that really makes the difference, so long as the mask is tolerable. If you don't like the mask or the kids grow out of it, at least you have a good snorkel.


Let Them Talk
Let Them Talk
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Frontman sadly brings 50% to the table, 13 May 2015
This review is from: Let Them Talk (Audio CD)
This is a fairly polished production and it certainly has its merits. Hugh can play, the Copper Bottom Band can certainly sing and play. The thing is, that Hugh's voice simply isn't up to the same high standard, and no one seems to have dared to tell him that. He sounds like he's 'acting to sing' because what comes out isn't from deep within, but caught in the top of his throat in all respects. It's passable, but not professional, and it sticks out a mile as the weak point in the line-up -- which is a rather odd thing to come from the front man.

It also became rather monotonous to hear the same scratchy vocals from one similar-sounding track to the next. They tried to break it up with tracks fronting female vocalists, but there just isn't enough variation for interest. There's potential for development here, but it is entirely dependent on Hugh getting some help to develop his voice; otherwise it is project over for me. As much as I would like to support him, I couldn't buy another like this.


Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon (PC DVD)
Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon (PC DVD)
Offered by filmrollen
Price: £7.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Lightly entertaining bloody dragons, 20 April 2015
Bearing in mind this is a budget mini spin-off of FarCry3, it's pretty good fun, and on occasion I laughed out loud. It takes a while getting started, but essentially it's the same idea of capturing garrisons and e.g. hostage rescue missions as with FarCry3, as you progress through a less complex mission (in fact even the mini missions were less complex). It is a spoof and there's no depth of social world or character either. There isn't meant to be. What's more, it's quite short -- it was possible to capture just four or so garrisons and get the mega weapons you need to blitz to the end in a matter of hours.

So why four stars? Well, it's cheap, and I had no expectations that it would be like FarCry3. And it's entertaining with some laughs along the way. You can play spot the references spoofed -- everything from the first Halo and going back further to 1980s gaming, to corny movie lines and nods to Star Wars, Blade Runner, Rocky, Austin Powers humour... well, how many do you see?

Some of the game is as childishly pitiful as the stuff I was doing aged 15, and that is one of the endearing features. Some won't like it of course, but they are probably the kind of people who say video games foment violence -- so listen out for the dialogue in defence of video games and learn the true meaning of the acronym eff u cee kay.

So, entertaining for the money and a bit too easy on normal mode perhaps (actually I feel that about most games, so maybe that's the endless hours over four decades counting for something), but as a bit of light fun with a few laughs, it's good. Just don't expect it to be like FarCry3 beyond a structural resemblance.


Battlefield 4 (PC DVD)
Battlefield 4 (PC DVD)
Offered by Yorkie Bargains
Price: £13.87

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed and ripped off, 30 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Battlefield 4 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
As far as campaign is concerned, this belongs in the 5 quid bargain bucket as a launch price. There are seven little scenes to play through, well I think that's what you get because the last one crashes and won't load (as others also report, and the ambiguous support system didn't work). The scenes are corridor-like in their pathetically small scope, which is almost comical in contrast to the epic story they attempt to situate you in. It's essentially a series of shooting galleries, which weren't that interesting on first play and offer nothing after. Graphically it's very average or less; I have no idea why my GPU plays it at 2.5k, because there's actually nothing to see. This overpriced, laughable tripe is in fact the worst game I've ever bought. I regret having anything to do with EA and their hideous Origin loader spyware.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2015 12:11 AM BST


Crysis 3 (PC DVD)
Crysis 3 (PC DVD)
Offered by IDSS
Price: £6.70

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now a better proposition than at launch!, 23 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Crysis 3 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I bought this as much as anything to test out my GTX 970 (plus the fact it was going cheap) and in this respect it didn't disappoint. Wonderful graphics with all the detail, shadow and lighting, all very smooth. FPS is my main genre, so it wasn't difficult to complete in normal mode -- I didn't find the check points too far apart. You can move through using stealth or blast, and it's fun to tag enemies and artillery and come up with a plan based on their numbers, capabilities or location.

In theory you modify your suit as you find upgrades along the way, but I don't think it made a major difference, just fine-tuning. The alien AI was fairly good, your human foes perhaps not so clever. The boss levels weren't too tricky either, but better that way than doing them 20 times, wondering what you are supposed to be doing. So it was all fairly straight forward and smooth. Like Battlefield4, there's an interesting contradiction that you are placed in epic scenarios but with non open-world, sometimes corridor-like play (reminded me of Halo!) that prevents the necessary suspension of disbelief and reminds you it's just a game.

That said, the graphics, the soundtrack and fairly seamless cinematic scenes were at times very immersive, and it felt like being in a 4D movie production -- certainly some great experiences to be had, and something I'd like to see more of. This goes a long way to making up for the sometimes limited trajectory you play on compared to open-world. And there was one final limitation: you normally expect about 40 hours out of a first campaign, this one is more like 20. All scenes are later unlocked so you can go back and play them on higher difficulties.

At launch this game wasn't graphically playable at its best for most of us, and it cost rather a lot for the hours you get (btw, still way better value than e.g. cinema -- imagine how much 20-40 hours then replays and multiplayer hours would cost there -- hooray for video games!). Now that we can unlock the best of the graphics and the price is well down, I'd say this game is an opportunity not to be missed, and rather more so than at launch.


Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Strix Graphics Card (4GB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0)
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Strix Graphics Card (4GB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0)
Price: £255.64

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool and quiet, good build, and 1342 MHz out of the box, 16 Mar. 2015
I'm happy with the performance of this card and glad I didn't splash out on a 980. 4K gaming is nascent rather than actual for most of us, and in future games will have more detail to render in ultra-high resolution which neither card will be able to do on ultra settings anyway. So the 980 seemed overkill considering the cost-benefit ratio, and it's not exactly future-proofing either. The money saved with the 970 today can go towards a next-gen card somewhere down the road. I would guess that you'd lose less money second hand too. The "0.5 GB" issue didn't put me off buying -- the card performs the same. Certainly if you want the best, the 980 is for you if you value it as highly as the retail price and don't have a wife rolling her eyes at your lifestyle choices...

I've tested the Asus Strix GTX 970 on Crysis 3, Battlefield 4, FarCry 4 and Assassin's Creed IV, and I'm getting really good frame rates and smooth play on ultra settings, and vsynch works fine where applicable. I've used GeForce Experience to optimize the settings. It seems FC4 was processed in 4k anyway and Battlefield in 2.5K, before being downscaled for my standard HD monitor. Maybe that explains why FC4 was using 3GB onboard RAM while Battlefield used 2GB (as did Crysis3 in standard HD). Other games in standard HD used 1.5 GB or less, all on very high and ultra settings. It seems to me that if you set standard HD processing for everything and overclocked the card, you'd be gaming away with new titles on high settings happily for a few years.

I haven't overclocked this card and don't yet see the need, and while it's sold as 1253 Mhz boost clock, the GPU Tweak software shows I've been getting 1342 MHz on Crysis 3, out of the box.

Temperature: depends on your system, and I have voltage-controlled Noctua fans front and rear plus a Noctua CPU tower cooler on PWM (horizontal orientation). When not gaming I get 41-43 C on this card, GPU fans off. When gaming heavily I get about 72 C, fans at about 50%. You could of course set the fans how you like to bring down temperatures at whatever load.

Noise: Since I've been after a near-silent PC this was important (in addition to the Noctua fans I use a semi-passive Corsair PSU whose fans rarely come on, and a Samsung 850 Pro SSD as main drive rather than one that's spinning all the while). When not under load the GPU fans are off and silent. At 45% it sounds like a very quiet twin-prop plane climbing lazily after take-off (somehow you can hear a stereo low rumble from both fans). I think the fans are quieter at 55% due to the higher pitch. Anyway, as we all know, when gaming it's headphones on or speakers on full, and in this case the fans aren't so loud as to be disturbing. Even so, for all the advertising I expected the fans to be quieter. As for coil whine, you can make the card do it by running the Windows Experience Index, and yes it sounds like the fast dentist's drill, but it's actually very quiet and I haven't really been able to discern it since, in gaming or when idle. When I turn the speakers off and put my head next to the case of my quiet PC, I can just about make it out. I get as much electrical noise from my mouse charger.

Extras: None to speak of! I don't care because I have 6+2 cables with my modular PSU already and didn't need an adapter. There's a disk with drivers and the GPU Tweak software, which you can get online regardless. The Strix 970 only requires 1 cable of the 8 variety anyway, so it tidied my tower a little. So, it was a slight disappointment that the foot-long, inch thick rectangular box inside the bigger box was more or less empty, despite gold letters reading "In Search of Incredible" -- in this respect, I'm still searching. A case badge would have been nice. Still, the card was well protected in the packaging.

So in summary, you have most of what the GTX 980 does here in practical terms at the moment, at a price which is so significantly lower to make it the preferred option as a top-end card for most gamers -- stocks and sales figures bear that out. And that's before you start overclocking. My experience of the Asus Strix GTX 970, with its metal chassis and back plate, is of a cool and quiet card of good build quality, which certainly delivers the goods and in fact performs better in terms of boost clock than claimed (MSI claims 1279 MHz on its GTX 970 Gaming edition, which my card exceeded out of the box). While the Strix doesn't have a flashy LED logo, I feel I've made the right decision over the MSI and Gigabyte, or at worst I haven't made a 'wrong' decision. I'm happy with this card in all respects, with the tiny niggle that a trinket of some sort didn't come with it -- but maybe Asus put all the money into the card!


GRDE™ Newest Design 5 Modes head lamp,1800Lumens CREE XML L2 LED Zoomable Adjustable Focus Headlamp ,Waterproof head torch ,For Outdoor Hiking, Riding, Camping and Other Activities(1*LED Headlight+2* 18650 Battery+1*USB Cable+1*Adapter Charger+1*car charge)
GRDE™ Newest Design 5 Modes head lamp,1800Lumens CREE XML L2 LED Zoomable Adjustable Focus Headlamp ,Waterproof head torch ,For Outdoor Hiking, Riding, Camping and Other Activities(1*LED Headlight+2* 18650 Battery+1*USB Cable+1*Adapter Charger+1*car charge)
Offered by Highway Techbuy
Price: £35.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value buy, does the job, a tad unrefined, 22 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll start with the minor niggles. Compared to my old Cree T6, this isn't actually quite as bright -- the LED might be, but if it is I suspect the bulbous plastic (not glass) focusing lens cuts some of the light. And at the narrowest focus the beam is a square shape, like the LED. Also, there were some dirty, unfocused parts in the light beam -- I noticed that there were bits of plastic stuck behind the lens, but it was easy to take it out and clean it. Actually some of the metal parts look like there's some sort of rock dust stuck to them -- I suspect they were dropped on a concrete floor during assembly. There could be some padding on the forehead piece, it's just the plastic -- I wear a hat in the cold, but come summer I think I'll need a hanky if it ever gets so dark when running that I need it. Otherwise it's a nice shape. There are no instructions, but it is self-explanatory -- just remember to take the plastic off the batteries before charging. There is a slight rattle from the focusing cylinder as you bounce while running.

The rest is all positive. It's certainly bright enough even though I've seen slightly brighter -- the four modes being max, reduced, flicker and finally it flashes out SOS, which I thought was a nice touch. The focusing is really good, and when you widen the beam it's pleasing to remember that you also actually lengthen it too, and combined with a fairly good tilt adjustment you really can get exactly the beam you want -- actually it's the focusing together with the price (which may vary) that makes this one a winner for me. So, it seems to me to be a good product which lacks refinement in just a couple of areas. Will update later on long-term reliability.


Luggage Zone Hard Shell Suitcase, Upright, Number Lock, 53/30/70 cm, Large, 3 Year Warranty
Luggage Zone Hard Shell Suitcase, Upright, Number Lock, 53/30/70 cm, Large, 3 Year Warranty
Price: £255.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Ticks all the right boxes..., 22 Jan. 2015
Bought this on a deal, and while the supposed RRP looks well over the top, it's actually a very good case. Unlike another I had to return, the lock is very easy to use and looks robust enough (it's the combination lock type, which locks the zippers in place so your case can't be opened without your knowledge -- zipped luggage is easy enough to break into, but this stops the case from being opened wide and provides 'tamper-evidence' because the case can't be re-zipped when the zip-pulls are fixed in place).

The wheels are good, and all the handles are good. There's a zippable fabric divide between the two halves inside. It's light for its size and reasonably rigid, though there is of course some flex when you push down on the centre. The case has also survived a flight. It shows the scuffs, but that's expected.

Overall, there's nothing to disappoint in terms of functionality, and if bought on a deal it's great value. Anything under 80 is great, as John Lewis ask 120 and up for something similar in this size category.


Far Cry 4 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Far Cry 4 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £27.84

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Changed and not changed -- sadly in the wrong ways, 1 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you haven't played FarCry3, you will probably enjoy this. Possibly you would if you have. I've had no problems with glitches at all on a 64 bit Win 7 machine with reasonable but not the highest specs -- I'm at that stage that I'm waiting for a couple of components to come down in price, maybe a GTX 980, and I'm glad I didn't spend out especially for FC4. No problems with Ubisoft's online part of the deal either (i.e. no "can't connect to server" etc).

My problem, and I have a few online gaming friends across the world who feel the same, is that FC4 has got it the wrong way round when it comes to change. The story mode is the same old FC3 scenario of control towers, missions, weapon unlocks, skinning and crafting etc. Yes, more elaborate (e.g. more stealth mandatory in places) and in slightly different terrain, but essentially the same. Oh, you can call in friends, but where's the worldwide online glory in little rooms? So, for me, story mode is like the same thing over again, a bit more elaborate, and with rather less empathetic characters I might add.

As for multiplayer, this has been dramatically changed when in FC3 it was one of the best things, as many reviewers have testified. Much of the camaraderie and chances of glory have gone, and to Ubisoft I say you can make it as pretty and multifarious as you like, but when the real-life narrative impetus created by player interaction rather than programming is taken out, the heart and soul have likewise been ripped out of it.

In both modes it feels more like going though the motions compared to this game's predecessor. It's only an opinion, but I thought I'd share it in case it means something to an FC3 veteran, who might not be missing out as much as anticipated.

So that's it for me: a fairly good game in its own right, but less interesting to this seasoned FC3 player because it is more of the same on story mode, and less than it was in a crucial way in multiplayer. I'll be back if I change my mind in another 40-80 hours... I really am hoping to see redemption not so much for Hurk but for FarCry4 and Ubisoft.

UPDATE!

I'm back! To give credit to Ubisoft, they really tried hard to give you value hours here (again!). They incorporated all sorts of mini tasks and games into a very large, open world map. The multiplayer is more complex. But it's not working for me. FC3 is somehow better looking, more immersive and soulful and had a better, more accessible and straightforward multiplayer, which sadly is now too overrun by hackers using cheats to bother with (couldn't they do a code check and chuck you out?). I just got a marketing email saying 'don't give up on Kyrat', and I don't see my friends online in Uplay. I think people just haven't been gripped by it in the long-term as with FC3.

The campaign, in my view, actually has too many side lines to it that aren't strictly mission or upgrade related, and this interrupts the narrative imperative. The story concept is based on the literary notion that ambiguity over the moral right leaves the question forever open and therefore of eternal interest, but sadly this means you don't give a hoot who you support. In fact, Pagan Min is probably my favourite character and I have no interest in killing him. He was a stable character, had conviction, you see? And to be positive, the same can be said for the fortress owners you dispose of along the way, especially Paul, who is a well and fully developed character.

The multiplayer is just too complex again, and when you swap sides it likewise throws you out of character and means you lose that narrative imperative, in addition to unnecessary faffing about. And with so many options, it's more about who makes the right selections than who is skilful and knowledgeable.

If you haven't played FarCry3, this is in fact a 4 star game and offers you way more hours than e.g. Crysis 3 or Battlefield4, and is much more open world than these comparative corridors. I wish I could love it, but I just can't because of the wonderful benchmark set by FarCry 3. And I'm really sorry for both myself and Ubisoft who have obviously tried very hard to make a great game that provides real value. I don't suppose Ubi would like to contact me for a bit of input concept-writing the next one? Please, I'm desperate to make this right!

P.S. Another note to Ubisoft: drop the voice chat concept. When we play, we are not ourselves, we are personas behind our nicks. Text chat is fine. Voice destroys the fiction. Art is about co-creativity, and you shouldn't underestimate or leave no room for the creativity the player brings to the game. That's why a simpler multiplayer is better, for example, and why FC3 was better this way -- the players made much of the game.


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